Dylan Stableford, a former editor at MediaBistro, is writing occasionally about the U.S. Open for Deadspin. Take it away, Dylan.
Deep into the second week of the U.S. Open, the tournament has been relatively entertaining at the expense of some of its best eye-candy (luscious seeds gone: Sharapova, Blake, Nadal, Ivanovic — oh no!) and last night delivered the only finals-worthy match left a couple rounds too early: Serial sleeve-tugger Andy Roddick (can someone at Lacoste design Andy something with shorter sleeves, perhaps?) and his 142 m.p.h. serve against Roger Federer, the Andre Agassi to Anna Wintour's Barbara Streisand.
Federer, who, let's face it, moves like a panther, took everything Andy Roddick, the Steve Stifler of men's tennis, had and smoked it. No one, not even Agassi, who joined John McEnroe in the USA booth, had an answer. And like 13 of the 14 previous matches between the two, Fed (as Agassi insisted on calling him) wore Jimmy Connors' prodigy out in straight sets 7-6, 7-6, 6-2 in front of his coach's leathery peers, Boris Becker, Guillermo Vilas, Ilie Nastase, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David.
Unlike other classic Euro-villains, the thing you hate most about Federer is that he's impossible to hate: Softspoken. Self-deprecating. Swiss. The same can't be said for Serena Williams. Check Williams' classy post-match following her 7-6, 6-1 loss to Justine Henin, who, by the way, is the world's No. 1 ranked women's tennis player: "I just think she made a lot of lucky shots and I made a lot of errors." Serena, are you saying you lost the match, rather than Justine won? "Absolutely. I think that's usually the case for me. It's my match to win or lose." As L.A. Times columnist Bill Dwyer, doing his best Dan Rather, put it: "She met the media afterward like a rattlesnake meets a ground squirrel."
So, who's left? On the men's side, tonight it's Carlos Moya, the Pat Cash of his era, against third-ranked Serb Novak Djokovic, who beat Roddick, Nadal and Federer on the way to an ATP tournament win last month in Montreal. That's in Canada, mind you.
Scheduling note: The women's champion's circuit match — Martina Navratilova vs. Jana Novotna - follows Moya-Djokovic, unless that match ends after 10:30PM — it seems no one, including the USA Network, wants to see a broken hip. David Ferrer, who beat Nadal in a match that lasted longer than humanly necessary, faces someone called Juan Ignacio Chela. Federer gets tennis' answer to Pete Rose, Nicolay Davydenko, in the men's semifinal. Bet on Federer. On the women's side, Anna Chakvetadze (excuse you) who hasn't lost a set, takes on Svetlana Kuznetsova in an all-Russian women's semifinal. Not as hot as it sounds.
And Serena's tolerable half Venus — who beat Jelena Jankovic on the Roddick-Roger undercard in a third set tiebreak that saw the Serb perform a number of cringe-inducing splits — faces Henin in the semis. Maybe Henin'll get lucky again.